Traditions of Hawaiian Childbirth and Naming

Discover the spiritual depth of Hawaiian culture through its sacred childbirth, naming traditions, and ceremonies, connecting past, present, and future.

Traditions of Hawaiian Childbirth and Naming
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Welcome! As you plan your trip to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands, it’s important to understand the rich cultural traditions that make this destination so unique. One key aspect of Hawaiian culture is the customs and practices related to childbirth and naming. This article will provide an informative overview of these traditions and their significance in Hawaiian culture, helping you gain a deeper appreciation for the connections between the past, present, and future.

Beliefs Surrounding Pregnancy and Childbirth

In traditional Hawaiian culture, pregnancy and childbirth are deeply spiritual experiences, intertwined with beliefs in ‘aumakua (family guardian spirits) and mana (spiritual power). The ‘aumakua are thought to protect and guide the family, while mana is the life force that connects all living beings. Expectant mothers often seek guidance from their ‘aumakua through prayer and meditation, ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Traditional Birth Practices

During childbirth, kūpuna (elders) often served as midwives, providing support and wisdom to the expectant mother. The piko (umbilical cord) held great significance in Hawaiian culture, symbolizing the child’s connection to their ancestors and the land. After the birth, the piko was traditionally buried, creating a physical and spiritual bond between the child and their ancestral homeland.

Hawaiian Naming Customs

Names carry great importance in Hawaiian culture, as they are believed to possess mana and reveal a person’s destiny. The process of selecting a name is a sacred one, involving dreams, visions, and guidance from the ‘aumakua. Inoa (names) serve as a link between individuals and their ancestors, ensuring the continuation of family heritage and connection to the past.

Traditional Naming Ceremonies

Following the birth, traditional Hawaiian naming ceremonies such as the ‘aha ‘aina (feast) would take place to present the child to the community. The kūpuna played a vital role in bestowing the name, signifying the child’s connection to their ancestors and the community as a whole. These ceremonies were an essential part of celebrating the child’s identity and place within the larger family and society.

Modern Adaptations of Hawaiian Childbirth and Naming Traditions

Today, many contemporary Hawaiian families continue to honor and adapt traditional practices surrounding childbirth and naming. This may include seeking guidance from the ‘aumakua during pregnancy, incorporating traditional elements into naming ceremonies, or using Hawaiian names to connect children to their cultural heritage. These modern adaptations demonstrate the resilience and evolution of Hawaiian traditions in the present day.

Experiencing Hawaiian Culture and Traditions

If you’re interested in learning more about Hawaiian childbirth and naming traditions, there are numerous opportunities to engage with the culture. Cultural centers, museums, workshops, and community events often provide valuable insights into these customs. Remember to approach these experiences with respect and appreciation, recognizing the deep significance of these traditions in Hawaiian culture.


The enduring cultural traditions of Hawaii, such as those surrounding childbirth and naming, offer travelers a unique opportunity to connect with the islands on a deeper level. By learning about and appreciating these customs, you can forge a more meaningful relationship with the Hawaiian Islands and their people, enriching your travel experience in the process. Thank you for taking the time to discover the beauty and significance of Hawaiian culture!


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